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Wednesday Nov 22, 2017, Rabi-al-awwal 3, 1439 Hijri
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Farooq Sattar took resignation back soon after giving it

10 November, 2017

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KARACHI: Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Farooq Sattar after midnight retracted his decision to quit MQM-P and politics, almost an hour after he announced quitting politics.

“My mother ordered me to continue serving the country and its people. To fulfil her wishes, I take my decision back,” he remarked.

Following the announcement of the resignation, Sattar went inside his house surrounded by party members. The members tried to pacify and convince him to take his decision back.

After an hour, Sattar returned and addressed another press conference. Faisal Sabzwari introduced Sattar as “MQM-Pakistan chief”. “I swear to God, this is not any drama,” he remarked. “I am willing to serve as an adviser to Rabita Committee.”

He also said that the decision to form an alliance with Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) was still intact; however, the MQM would contest the 2018 general election under its own symbol and manifesto.

Earlier in the day, following an emergency huddle of the party’s Rabita Committee – or Coordination Committee – to discuss the prevailing political situation, MQM leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel had announced during a press conference that the party would contest the elections under its own symbol in the constituencies where it had won in 2013.

Sattar, who did not attend the party meeting due to “personal reasons”, called an “urgent” press conference later in the evening to “make an important announcement”. While talking to the media, he admitted that he wasn’t at the meeting because he was upset with the Rabita Committee.

“My decisions were questioned by party members … if people think I am not qualified to run Pakistan’s fourth biggest party. Then I won’t.” “I will be upset if my party members start doubting my intentions,” he said. “I don’t want my own people to convey their messages through social media; if there is an issue or any confusion, come talk to me in person.”

Lamenting that his own party members did not respect his words or have trust in him, Sattar had announced his resignation. “MQM is the voice of muhajirs; it was the voice before August 22 and will remain to be so,” Sattar said earlier during the press conference, referring to the day that led to him sidelining party founder Altaf Hussain.

“Don’t go so far in spreading hatred against Altaf Hussain that you harm your own people. The tone used by Mustafa Kamal yesterday was not of unity and reconciliation,” said Sattar, before adding that he could “have said all of this yesterday, but didn’t want to grab the microphone from Mustafa Kamal”. “MQM is a reality, MQM is here to stay.”

On Wednesday, Kamal had made it clear that “it [the alliance] would be anything but MQM”. “I am not backing down from what I stand for – we came to bring down Altaf Hussain and destroy his toxic legacy,” he had maintained. “Farooq Sattar may not be comfortable with PSP at this moment, but we have categorically decided that we will not unite under the name of MQM.”

Referring to Kamal’s comments, Sattar said, “You [Kamal] were saying that you can’t negotiate with MQM, yet you were sitting right next to me when saying this. I am part of MQM.”

He also dismissed the notion that MQM and PSP were in negotiations for the past six months. “I have not met Mustafa Kamal alone; we’ve only interacted socially.”

“I challenge you to win only one seat from Lahore,” Sattar said, addressing Kamal. “If you win one seat from Lahore or KP, we will bury the MQM flag with our own hands.”

Championing rights of the muhajir community, he said the MQM was fighting a war for the survival of Pakistan in Karachi. “Kamal and his colleagues are saying that they want to bury the MQM. I request them to stop saying this – you are hurting the cause of the muhajir community.”

Sattar said that he would not have criticised Kamal, but was forced to, as his “feelings were hurt”. “I’d decided to take the negotiations with PSP forward; I had even drafted an agenda … but Kamal tried to teach me the way forward, he asked me to let go of my struggle for the muhajir community and think about national politics,” he said, lashing out at the PSP leader. “Our struggle is against the mistreatment suffered by the muhajir community. We are against the quota system, the very system which technically ended after 2013 but is still followed by the government,” claimed the MQM leader. “Yet, no court or institution has bothered to take action against this illegal practice.”

“No political party is bad; however, there are some people who bring a bad name to it. I ask Kamal to join hands with us and help remove these elements from MQM.” “We wanted to make an alliance for a joint political struggle, but it was portrayed in a way as if we were abandoning MQM. How can we part ways with our own people who have sacrificed their lives for the betterment of this city and country?”

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